Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quame's Corner

Quame Zowonu is a teacher, author, and one of I.S.A.B.T.’s representatives in Ghana. Quame is a huge help in organizing and facilitating our projects on the ground and maintaining connections with the schools and teachers we work with in West Africa. We decided to ask Quame a few questions about his experiences working with I.S.A.B.T. on educational projects in Ghana.

"Our beginnings may be small but like the mustard seed we know that with the support from like minded people who share the thought of giving back to society what God has given them we would extend and spread all over Ghana and move across to other countries in Africa reaching every child on our way.

Currently the course of improving the lives of Ghanaian children has been yielding a lot since, not withstanding our meager resources, we have made a tremendous impact in Ghana with our presence in three out of the ten regions (namely Greater Accra, Central and Volta Region.) The satellite schools we work in have reading clubs that serve as models for other schools in the area. The clubs serve as a conduit through which we reach the rest of the schools in the region.  For instance, through this influence St. James Business College, Denu (Volta Region) has set aside the first 30minutes of every day’s lesson for reading story books only. This has been dubbed “the silence time for reading”.

We have a saying that goes, “Train up a child in the way he should go and he shall not depart from it.”  With this in mind, our main focus is children in the basic schools, but we have not left out the secondary and the tertiary level students. We have made donations such as a video conferencing system to Cape Coast Polytechnic University (in the central region) to enhance their academic work with regard to distance learning. Computers and its accessories were also donated to Elmina Methodist Junior High School to enhance their computer skills while to the Teshie Southern Cluster of Schools a donation of books was made to enhance their reading and referencing.

The International School of Art, Business and Technology (I.S.A.B.T) creates opportunities to give back to humanity a token of what God has given to us. Working with I.S.A.B.T  since it was founded has been an eye opener  for me to see first hand what my younger brothers and sisters in rural and urban Ghana (and the whole of Africa) are going through to attain academic laurels for themselves and the country as a whole. When the idea or the concept was first discussed with me, by the founding president of I.S.A.B.T Jonathan Thurston, I must admit that I thought it would be difficult for Ghanaian children to create and write their own books for publication. This naivety came as a result of the structure of the Ghanaian Educational Curriculum which does not encourage much creativity and self belief, which I have been part of for a very long time. I thank God for the Ghanaian children proving me wrong and further proving to me that when given the opportunity they can take after great African writers such as Atu Kwei Okai, Ayikwei Armah, Efua Sutherland, Ama Atta Aidoo, Ola Rotimi and the likes. It donned on me that when in a class of 20 every child writes a book and then the books are rotated among them in that same class, a child would have read 20 books by the time the rotation ends. This implies that this child would have also been influenced by the different styles of writing that would have been brought to bear by the young writers. As often as they write, they would improve their vocabulary which eventually improves their language and also arouses their interest and desire to read other peoples’ work. Silently we would be bringing up an educated African with the desire to use his or her life wisely while others identify their talent in writing, hence this strengthened my conviction and commitment to the cause of I.S.A.B.T."

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